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New job description assigns case-management, support duties for special educators

The School Board on March 15, 2017 approved a new job description for two existing special-education teachers/case managers, effectively putting emphasis on the latter.

The board got their first look at the proposal in February. "Right now the special educator serves a dual role - they're case managers and they are special educators. Often times the case manager role takes on a lot more, I think, than we account for, so this position would help do some of those case management duties," Director of Special Services Jessica Clark told board members at their meeting Feb. 14.

Those duties include assessments and testing of new referrals to determine student needs, as well as noticing and other paperwork required for developing Individualized Education Programs for students.

Plans are to advertise in-house for two "student support coordinator" positions for 2017-18, one for elementary and younger middle-school students; and the other for older middle-school and high-school students. The overlap will ensure smoother transitions as students move through Cape Elizabeth's three schools. "Really having other eyes besides mine that look at things K-12, and making sure that things continue to move forward," Clark said.

Successful candidates would have their student cases reassigned to remaining special-ed teachers. Teachers would have one or two more cases than they do this year, but within the state maximum, Clark said.

Not only would the student support coordinators help with case management, they would also supervise and evaluate educational technicians, as well as provide support to regular-education teachers. "Because the whole point of special ed is to give the kids the services they need so we can fade off and they can become ... regular-ed students," Clark said.

One of the special educators at Pond Cove School is already serving in a support position, Clark said, so the new structure would effectively change only one special-educator position in the higher grades.

Interim Superintendent Howard Colter emphasized that the positions would be filled by existing staff - no new monies are being requested. Certification at some level of special education is required.